There are things that go bump in the night, terrible and dangerous things that shouldn't have the right to exist in the human world. I dealt with those things, and every time I almost ended up dying for it. I had to do the things I did to save the people worth saving, and coming out alive at the skin of my teeth.
I juggled with my morality, with my life and so many decisions made in the spur of the moment. I could only count myself lucky to be alive after having gone through so much. Having faced vampires, werewolves, dark wizards, ghosts and even a legendary Loup-garou, I made it through alive with desperation and skill only a man near their breaking point can achieve.
Right now, I think I might actually die. Murphy might never see me again, or Michel and his wife and kids. Susan, oh how I wish I listened to her and stayed with her tonight. We would have had a nice dinner and went to bed early at her place. It would have been a better choice than follow up on a lead on some wannabe necromancer and an ancient book he stole from the museum a couple of days ago. The only reason I was even called up was because the guards died an unnatural death, their bodies having aged a hundred years, with their clean uniforms still clinging to their skeletal bodies.
That's how I was first alerted to the dark wizard's activities, and was even hired to find the priceless book by the director of the museum. A little bit of consulting done for Murphy at the crime scene and promising to give her more information when I get it, I was on my way.
The following day later led me directly to the south end of Chicago, up the stairs of an apartment building and onto the roof. And it had to be on a roof of all place. Being a wizard, technology doesn't tend to work as they should. The more sophisticated the technology is, the more likely it is to fall apart just by my presence alone.
The last thing I wanted was to be on an elevator leading me to my death. I already experienced that before, barely coming out alive was a once in a lifetime experience thank you very much. But that doesn't mean I want to walk up thirty flight of stories.
The necromancer himself lay a few feet away; surprisingly I found myself not comforted at all for the lack of a head attached to his shoulders.
The candle sticks snuffed out beside him, paper seals that gave and focused his power was completely destroyed. There were ashes of burning papers everywhere, some still charred with a few crackling flames. The circle itself was disturbed, smudged and whatever that held inside the circle broke free. The symbols themselves drawn around the circle and within it were of eastern origins, and some of it was utterly alien that it couldn't have been made by any humans. He didn't recognize the language belonging to any human civilization he can think of.
The stupid idiot paid the price for his arrogance. And so am I, because I really wish I called up Murphy before raiding the necromancer's place of power.
I could feel the hot breath of the man behind me, his unnatural crimson red eyes staring at mine. From the corner of my eyes, I can make out a tiny frown forming in his face. There was only silent puzzlement underneath those red eyes. Whatever he saw in me, he didn't show it much.
The eyes are the windows to the soul, literally. A wizard has the ability to look into the soul of the person, and when I got pulled into the soul gaze within them, it terrified and confused me.
Just imagine a field, long and desolate as far as the eye can see. Nothing grew on it, not even weeds could be supported with life. And above the sky was coated with blood red, and black clouds stayed still and unmoving. And if you ever had the chance to see blood at night, reflecting off the silver moon, that's what the color of the sun was. And it was bleeding.
The field itself wasn't completely empty, far from it. It was filled to the brim. Dead bodies littered everywhere, from men and women and even children, post mortem setting in long ago. And blood, there were blood everywhere, so much blood he couldn't believe his eyes. They were all deep in them, all the dead bodies half covered in blood and drowning. I could almost choke in the metallic coppery smell of blood.
And there, in the middle of the field the man stood in a small patch of perfectly manicured green grass, lack of any red stains. He stood tall, clothed in an odd bleached white armor, blade held softly in his right and his eyes stared right into mine. His families, friends and enemies were nonexistent to those eyes. Everything about him was cold, calculating and efficient. But there was something else hidden beneath them.
I felt tears on my eyes, suddenly feeling sick to my stomach. Behind all the cold blooded killer lay a pure hearted soul, a kind of goodness hidden behind a lifetime of sacrifice.
Forming a soul gaze with a wizard, you get to know the person and vice versa. It is why wizards always avoid any eye contact as much as they can. To know one another so deeply, so profoundly, it can only be called intimate. And it sticks with you like a bad rash, always at the back of your mind.
Now, I've seen sociopaths do their worsts, killing indiscriminately and for the sake of it. I've seen good men corrupted by darkest of magic, using lust and anger to fuel their power. I've even seen good men kill in self defense. I've known a lot of monsters, vampires and demons having lived a long life and spilled the blood of so many innocents.
My stomach quailed; cold fear gripped around my heart like a giant armored gauntlet fist and pounded at it a hundred miles per second. This man was as deadly as they come, and God help any stupid idiot that comes in his way.
Well, other than me. All I needed to do was give him was a good reason to cut my head off. I couldn't use my shield bracelet, and by that time it would be too late. Any spell, any word I might utter to let off a spell would be too late, not with the sword hanging so close to my throat.,,,
But what confused me more than anything else, was that he had a pure soul. It was the kind of soft pure soul that was Michael Carpenter and Murphy. And this man had that same soul. I've never known a man who killed so many, and still retain their soul and sanity. He might not kill me just for the sake of it, only if he had a reason. He knew I knew that, so I might still come off alive.
"Who are you?" The man's voice was soft, but firm, the kind that came with total control over a person's life.
"Harry," I licked my lips nervously, suddenly finding my lips dry. "Harry Dresden"
"Harry Dresden." He said, getting used to the words. He didn't quite get it right, and any closer I could only shudder what wizards would do if they had power over my name.
"You mind getting the blade away from me? I don't particularly want to die at the moment." I said. "I still got things to do, places to see and finish writing my will." Okay, so maybe trying to banter with the man might have been a stupid thing to do, so sue me. I swallowed again, looking at the blade only inches away from my throat.
The man blinked, and then finally nodded before lifting the blade away from me. I let out a breath, scrambling back to pick up my blasting rod and my staff. I finally turned to face him, and I shuddered when those blood red eyes watched me. They were so cold, calculating and efficient, not unlike Marcone.
"Who are you?" I asked. I fought the sudden urge to lift my staff and my blasting rod, but kept it at my side just in case he decided to attack me anyway. I'd be ready for him this time.
"Uchiha Itachi," He said, simply.
Names are a powerful thing. If a wizard ever used your name against you, there can be a whole lot of trouble. It can be dangerous and he's dangerous. I eyed the man properly this time. Itachi wasn't a very tall person. He stood a little above average, five eleven maybe. He wore a simple shirt and pants, and currently shoeless. And despite the lean body, he had a solid frame for a twenty four year old man. The wiry corded muscle rippled underneath his pale skin as if they were made of steel, but they moved with fluidly of an Olympic gymnast. Itachi was made for efficiency, pure and simple. And despite his good looks, the kind of looks only models have, the kind the White Court vampires hunt for, Itachi was so much more than that. The way he stood showed grace only a Sidhe can achieve, and the sheer violence he exuded makes a vampire pale in comparison. He can be a little daunting, I realized, especially with that sword he holds.
The near permanent introduction to his blade showed me that. The raven haired man was a monster in a human form, I knew, and with a soul so pure I don't even know what to think. He was no demon or a fairy, just an honest to god human.
"Well, Uchiha," I made a face. I gestured around to the mess. "What happened exactly?"
"Call me Itachi." Itachi's eyes narrowed. "I should be dead."
"You mean he almost killed you?" I looked at the headless corpse on the floor, finding that hard to believe.
"He was no threat." The headless corpse was dismissed as nothing more than a bug, and I tried hard not to twitch.
"What does that mean?" I was cold, hungry and starting to get really frustrated. The only thing I wanted right now is my bed.
When Itachi lifted his blade, my hands instinctively gripped my staff and my blasting rod harder. Already I brought the magic into my will, the words in my mind and ready to be used. The air crackled, my staff glowed a bright blue and I can feel the strength pouring into me and nearly dropped it when I realized what happened. My tense shoulders slackened, relaxing visibly when the man only made a small cut on his hands. Now I just felt silly, feeling my face burn. If this Itachi person noticed, he seemed to have ignored it.
His hand bled red, just as any other human would. He seemed a little surprised he even bled. Heck, I'm still surprised he bled. "I shouldn't be alive. Why I am alive now and existing is a mystery." Itachi lifted his hand, and flexed it over and over again as if he was actually real.
"You killed him?" I nudged to the man to my side, ignoring what he said. The implications behind that statement would mean shit could hit the fan on epically proportional scale.
"Yes." Itachi replied. I didn't bother to tell him to go visit a hospital, he didn't look the type. Itachi was already ripping up a small piece of cloth from his shirt and wrapped around his hands tightly, and tying it up into a tight knot.
"Why?" Okay, stupid question.
"He tried to subvert my will. I merely responded in kind."
I didn't bother asking how the circle was broken from the outside, as he should be powerless on the inside. So either Itachi had help from an outside source before I got here, or his will was stronger than the necromancer. In which case, the circle broke or the mad wizard accidentally disturbed the circle. Either way, I have to deal with the consequences. I eyed the sky above and cursed at the big man upstairs.
Itachi turned his back to me, moving near the ledge to face the hundreds of lit buildings across the city. It was nearing midnight, and very few people were out in this side of the city on a Monday night. And I should be home sleeping for an early morning. And Itachi seemed to have dismissed me. At least, I hope not. I don't like it when I'm ignored by a potential baddie, things don't tend to end well for them. Okay, so I was a little insulted a potential threat like me could be turned away so easily. I took offense to that. So what am I supposed to do now? Inform the White Council? Murphy was going go berserk, but that won't stop her from finding the killer who killed the previous killer. Now I'm starting to get a headache.
"I do not recognize this place." Itachi turned back to me, his eyes never letting go of me. "I may need your help.
I kept my eyes on the road and silently cursed under my breath over and over again. I swear this would be the last time I help someone in need.
"Hells Bells, this isn't happening. This is so not happening." I muttered, trying to keep my thoughts steady. Necromancy is one thing, but full on resurrection of a human is impossible. To bring back a life, of the soul's body and spirit that should be long dead shouldn't be possible. He was probably alive the whole time, somehow sealed away or locked in the Nevernever somewhere deep and dark. My early theory was rearing it's ugly head when Itachi asked what a car was. Everyone knew what a car was, hell even the lowest pit of demons to the most traditional old vampire knew what it was. Then he had the gall to insult the old girl, the nerve!
Bob was going to have a field day with trying to figure this puzzle out. If the White Council found out, they're reaction is going to make the Chicago fires look like fire crackers.
I tried not to turn and stare at my companion seated next to me on the passenger seat, he didn't say much. Itachi only kept staring out the window, his eyes coal black. I blinked, surprised. That was weird. I so needed to learn that trick.
"This place is different, bigger."
"Yeah well, welcome to Chicago."
"Chicago?" Itachi said, slowly rolling the words over his mouth. "Is this your village?"
"Village?" I turned back to him, my eyebrows shot up. "No, it's a city. We're in the USA. I'll tell you more about this place when we get home."
He didn't say much after that.
Itachi leaned back, looking out the window again. The buggy was a beat up and rusty old thing, but it still worked. Mike, my car mechanic is a miracle worker to keep this this old girl running. Thank you for small miracles. They sped through the night, a comfortable sort of silence settling in.
When I got home and opened the door, Mister came by and playfully shouldered his way past my feet. I threw the car keys on the table, hung my duster and set aside my staff and my blasting rod to the side. Firing up the fireplace brought warmth into my place, my skin already getting a little bit of its color back from the cold night. Candles were the next best thing to bulbs, they don't fritz out on you.
Apparently I decided to take home a killer, and who just happened to be helpless in a world that changed around him in an instant. He wasn't Mister I took home so many years ago, and neither is he a cat. He was human, and the kind of dangerous player that makes vampires look like the three stooges trying to take out a hit on my Godmother. The image in my head slightly cheered me up.
Wait a go, Harry Dresden.
Mister apparently had taken quite a liking to Itachi. The thirty pound cat purred in delight under Itachi's fingers. I scowled, feeling slightly betrayed. Great! He was the perfect killer that liked cats. Wonderful.
I sighed, taking the seat opposite of him. "What do you remember before you were…?" I gestured to the mess we left behind on the roof top.
Itachi looked up, his eyes looked away from Mister and we made eye contact. There was no need to fear of another soul gaze; we already looked into one another and we knew each other pretty damn well, which is a lot. I tried not to shudder, the image still planted in my mind.
"I died." He smiled. I thought I might have imagined it; it was gone the next second. "However I feel weak, like I've been cut in half."
"But what do you remember before you died?"
Itachi thought it over, cocking his head to the side. "I don't remember much, only I should not exist."
"I'm going to try and feel you with my magic, if it's okay with you."
He cocked his head to the side in question, but nodded.
I willed my magic, extending my senses towards Itachi. So it was true, he is well and truly human. There wasn't any sign of possession, at least. That was a good sign. Except there was something oddly different about him. There was a difference between perfectly ordinary human and wizard that defines them, and the man sitting opposite of me was both. Neither maybe, more or less. I don't know, this is all getting confusing my the minute. He doesn't have an ounce of magic, at least. So why would the necromancer have the trouble of summoning him? I can still feel the red outline on my neck, reminding me exactly how dangerous he can be.
"You have found something then?"
I pulled away the magic, feeling a little light headed.
"No. You're not dead, you're still alive." I said, "You must've been alive the whole time, you just didn't know it. Maybe."
"Not possible." He replied, not in the lead worried. I got annoyed, wondering why I brought him home in the first place. Itachi can't be human. Hell, fairies show more emotion than Itachi does. And they don't even have a soul. I wonder what would happen if he were to meet my Godmother.
"Is this you?" I picked up a small hand held mirror on the table side near me and held it up to face Itachi.
"Then you didn't die." I put the mirror away, missing the narrowed eyes aimed at me. If he thinks he should be dead, that's fine by me. The sooner the morning comes, the sooner he can leave. Maybe I can set him up with some fake IDs and other paraphernalia for being a US citizen. I may not have the resources, but Marcone does and he still owes me. I thought better of it then. The last thing the mob boss needs is another killer.
I thought back to the theory that he might might actually have died. Is there truly a way to completely and fully resurrect the dead? No, not a chance. To bring back a person so completely alive and wholly intact, with their flesh and bone to the exact replica of what they once were before dying, goes against the very laws of nature.
"So I'm normal, alive, then?" Itachi asked.
"Yep. Perfectly normal. You're you." I still had some of the notes I copied down from the circle. Maybe Itachi hadn't died the whole time, just sealed away or something. His body might have been preserved somehow. Too many questions flashed behind my mind, gears turning. The necromancer did something; I just have to figure out what. I still got the book, at least part of it. It's still half charred from the fire. Maybe I can pretend I lost it so the director of the museum won't get it back for the sake of my research. Of course than there's no way in hell I can pay my bills for tomorrow night.
Itachi merely shrugged, looking back at Mister. Mister, my cat decided to make a bed for himself on Itachi's lap. "I'm in your care than. I wish to learn more about this world I find myself in."
"Maybe tomorrow," I got up frustrated from my couch. "You sleep on the couch. You can make yourself a sandwich, and coke is in there in the Ice Box if you need a drink." I said, rubbing my eyes. I am altogether suddenly very exhausted. I noticed at the corner of my blurry eyes, Itachi frowned at the mention of coke but said nothing of it.
Murphy and her division were already alerted to the soon to be crime scene before we left the building. I didn't bother telling her I was there, or anything else for that matter.
I shook my head, walked away and closed the door behind me. I finally slumped onto my bed, letting sleep finally consume me.